How to Take the Best Trading Card Images

Capturing high-quality images of cards is a constant struggle for collectors, with poor lighting, glare and reflection being the most prevalent pitfalls.

Ultimately it’s worth putting a little extra effort into getting the best photos possible though.


  • Visually appealing images are more likely to capture and retain the attention of viewers.
  • Better photos leads to more eyeballs on the cards which can lead to better prices.
  • Detailed images give potential buyers peace of mind and help them feel comfortable.
  • Fewer hassles like requests for more images or returns from item not being as expected.

With the following few tips and some help of NextGem you can capture cards photos like this:

LeBRON James 2003 Finest Refractor #133 PSA 10

Top Tips for Better Card Images

Lighting is Everything

Any great card pic starts with proper lighting and the choices you make on this variable will be the foundation.  Get the lighting right and you’ll be well on your way to a fantastic outcome.

The first thing to do is select a location where it’s not too dark or too bright.  That’s right, there is such a thing as too much natural light and it can lead to your images losing vibrance and contrast. Avoid areas with excessive sunlight as well as dimly lit rooms when imaging your cards.

Kirby Puckett 1984 Fleer Update #U-93 PSA 10

Pro Tip:  This $20 ring light is a great investment to ensure consistent quality lighting and works best in a dark room set alongside the card.

Ring light

"The ring light is a game changer," - NextGem Member "BKBYsportscards"

Avoid Glare & Reflections

Next you’ll want to account for glare and reflection.

Randy Moss 1998 Fleer Brilliants 24K Gold

Start by avoiding areas where there is a light source directly over the card.  Lighting from the side of the card produces much better results. 

Eliminating reflections can be trickier, especially with modern cards that have almost mirror-like surfaces.

NextGem’s intelligent scanning system can solve both of these problems for you.  Simply snap the image from the optimal angle to avoid overhead light bursts, pesky hands and other noise.

NextGem Card Scanner

The app does the rest, adjusting and cropping for a beautiful final product.

NextGem High Quality Image
NextGem Results

"Playing around on @NextGemApp and can't get over how amazing the scans look," - @tlschwerz on Twitter

By following these basic guidelines and with the help of NextGem you can start capturing amazing images of your cards and reaping all the rewards today!

Click here to get the free NextGem app today.

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